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Growing up, many people are taught to place other people first. Unfortunately, this often goes against human nature.
Sadly, a lot of people are selfish naturally and tend to think about themselves first. This can harm their relationships with their family members, friends, coworkers, and loved ones.
If you are looking for ways to be selfless, it is helpful to surround yourself with people like you; however, if you are trying to be selfless when you are surrounded by selfish people, this can present a unique challenge.
So in this article, I will show you eight ways to be selfless in life — even if you are surrounded by selfish people.
Why Should You Learn How to Be Selfless?
You should learn how to be selfless because not only will you help other people but you will also feel better about yourself. When you are selfless, you will increase your confidence and self-esteem while also repelling negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions about yourself. By focusing on what you give to others instead of what you receive, you shift the focus away from yourself and look at the world as a whole instead.
Unfortunately, many people are naturally selfish. A lot of people are selfish because they confuse being selfish with a sense of individualism. In today's culture, there is an innate drive for people to try to succeed on their own.
Even though becoming more independent is a natural part of growing up, this doesn't mean that people have to become selfish as well. In a lot of situations, people confuse the two topics. The dangers of misguided individualism are real.
Therefore, it is important for everyone to learn how to be selfish and considerate of others. This is important when it comes to personal development and self-awareness.
Some people work hard to be more selfless and generous around other people, they naturally attract more people toward them. That way, people are able to focus more on what they are doing well and less on the mistakes and character flaws they might be trying to correct. This is how being selfless can help you improve your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Even though it can be a bit of a challenge to be selfless if you are surrounded by people who are naturally selfish, there are a few ways that you can accomplish this goal.
8 Ways to Be Selfless (Even When Surrounded by Selfish People)
Some of the top ways that you can be selfless even if you are surrounded by selfish people include:
1. Start Performing Random Acts of Kindness Every Day
The first thing that you need to do is try to perform random acts of kindness every day. Often, people are only kind to someone else when they feel like they owe that person something.
For example, some people feel obligated to buy someone a birthday present because that person bought a birthday present for them. This is not the right motivation for performing acts of kindness. Instead, you should simply perform random acts of kindness because it is the right thing to do. By removing an act of kindness away from the obligation of a special occasion, you become a more selfless person.
Furthermore, you do not necessarily have to perform random acts of kindness for someone you know. Even smiling at a stranger and asking them how their day is going can make someone feel much better about themselves. If everyone in the world simply smiled more often, think about how much better the world would be.
Also, you can open the door for someone, offer to buy someone a coffee just because you feel like it, and treat your co-workers, friends, and family members with more compassion. Offer to buy groceries for a family member or run an errand for a coworker. When you perform, random, unexpected acts of kindness, you are going to feel much better about yourself. You will make the world a slightly less selfish place.
2. Offer Compliments Instead of Criticism
One important step you can take to become a more selfless person is to offer compliments instead of criticism. It is very easy to criticize someone. Everyone wants to feel like they are doing something right. One of the ways to do this is to focus on what you are doing better than someone else, which simply brings out a lot of criticism. At the same time, this is not the right approach to take. Instead, focus on giving out compliments instead.
Even though this may feel like a challenge, this is actually a relatively easy approach. Instead of focusing on what someone is doing poorly, focus on what they are doing well. That way, you will take a few minutes and build someone up.
Furthermore, you may realize that other people are more likely to offer you compliments if you are saying good things about them. That way, this is a great way to synergistically increase your self-confidence and self-esteem by being a more selfless person. At the same time, notice that you also encourage other people to be more selfless as well. This is one way that your positive impact on the world can be magnified.
3. Practice Kindness Meditation Regularly
In order to become a more selfless person, you need to make sure that you are emotionally balanced. One of the ways to do this is to practice something called kindness meditation. Many psychologists have discovered through studies that kindness meditation can help you become more emotionally centered. This means that you may be able to help your brain become more compassionate by using simple meditation sequences.
Similar to other activities, it may take a while for you to learn how to meditate successfully; however, studies have shown that you can become a more selfless person by doing that.
In one specific study, a team of researchers gave individuals a 30-minute audio recording that these participants were supposed to listen to daily for 2 weeks. This recording was an adaptation that focused on loving kindness meditation. It was specifically called compassionate meditation.
After the study, the researchers realized that the participants were more likely to be kind, generous, and altruistic. The results of this study demonstrate that individuals who practice compassionate, loving, kindness meditation on a regular basis will spend more time, money, and energy on others than themselves. By meditating regularly, you can become a more selfless person as well.
4. Listen Instead of Speak
One of the most common examples of people being selfish is that they continuously turn conversations back toward themselves. This is only natural. People like to talk about themselves.
In fact, people like to talk about themselves more often than ever in the past. Social media often acts as an extension of our voices, where people always want to move their lives to extremes. The reality is that no one's life is either as good or as bad as it seems on social media.
Therefore, instead of speaking, people need to learn how to listen more often. Even though you may feel like you have a special accomplishment to share or you could feel like you are going through a rough time, try to give others a chance to speak. For example, start conversations by asking people how their day is going.
Then, ask questions that further the conversation and try to learn more about their situation. Eventually, the other person is also going to ask about you, giving you a chance to speak; however, when you demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the lives of other people, you immediately become a more selfless person.
If people would listen to other people just a little bit more often, the world would immediately become a better place. Everyone has good times and bad times. Make an effort to be a relief valve for other people by opening your ears, your heart, and your soul to others.
5. Donate to Charity
It is easy for people to donate money to charity. Even if it is just a dollar or two, many people donate to charity because this fulfills some sort of an obligation. Instead of donating money to charity and claiming a tax deduction for it, donate something more valuable. Instead of giving money, donate your time. Your time is the most valuable resource that you have. When you spend it helping others, you demonstrate that you are not a selfish person.
A simple Google search will quickly show that there are lots of charitable organizations in the area with which you can volunteer your time.
For example, you may want to spend your time building homes with Habitat for Humanity. Or, you can go to the local soup kitchen and serve food to individuals who sorely need it. If you are someone who is good with children, you may want to volunteer with a local sports league. That way, you can encourage kids to be active and fight childhood obesity in the process. It is relatively easy for someone to be nice and generous around people they know; however, the true test is whether you can be selfless with people who you might otherwise overlook on a daily basis. When you donate your time to charity, you demonstrate that you are growing as a selfless person.
Finally, you can use a site like Charity Navigator to find the right charity that matches your personal beliefs.
6. Be a More Patient Person
Today, we live in an impatient world. People have shorter attention spans today than they ever did in the past. Therefore, our patience is wearing thin as well. You may notice that you have a shorter fuse today than you did in the past. For example, you may be faster to become angry, emotionally irritated, or frustrated than before. As a result, take a few minutes and practice patience.
In order to practice more patience, start small. For example, try not to become frustrated when you are standing in line. No, do not take out your cell phone in an effort to entertain yourself. This is a subtle sign that you are becoming impatient and frustrated with the people in front of you. Instead, take a deep breath and look around. Absorb the scenery. You might even start a conversation with the other people in line if you are feeling particularly brave.
In today's world, a lot of people expect to be instantly gratified with the swipe of a finger or the push of a button. It takes a selfless person to truly become patient with the world around them. That could be you. Take a deep breath, practice patience, and be patient with others. Then, you will find that you will surround yourself with people who are more generous and accepting of you as well. This is one way that you can make the world a slightly less selfish place.
7. Be Okay with Imperfection
One of the ways that you have tried to become a successful person is by always doing your best. You have shot for the stars and just about everything that you have ever tried. Therefore, you may imagine that other people are going to do the same thing. You cannot imagine that someone would ever put forth something that is less than their best effort.
As a result, you demand perfection from other people as well. Even though you may feel like you are pushing others to do their best, you are actually being a selfish person because you are expecting people to be just like you. Therefore, you need to learn how to be okay with imperfection. Instead of focusing on what people are doing wrong, focus on what they're doing right. If you find that you are more tolerant of smaller, understandable mistakes, you will find that people are more accepting of you as well.
In addition, if you become more understanding of other people, you may find that they ask you for assistance. This is one of the top validations that you can feel when it comes to being a more selfless person. If people are coming to you during their time of need, they know that you are going to be understanding of their situation. Then, you will have another opportunity to be a selfless person and make the world a slightly better place through your thoughtful actions.
8. Treat Others the Way You Would Like to Be Treated
Finally, the most important way that you can be a more selfless person is to follow the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. There are going to be plenty of times during your journey to be a more selfless person when you have questions or are in doubt of what to do next. You might be wondering if what you have just done is truly a selfless act. If you have any questions about this, simply follow the Golden Rule (and check out our collection of karma quotes).
Ask yourself if you would like someone else to treat you that way. If the answer is yes, then you are doing a good job. On the other hand, if the answer is no, it simply means that you have more room to grow as a person. This is not a bad thing, as no one is going to change completely overnight.
Following the golden rule is one of the most important steps that you can take on your way to becoming a more selfless person. If everyone would spend their days simply doing one thing for someone else, the world would be a much better place.
These are a few of the top ways that you can become a more selfless person. Nobody has ever said that becoming a more selfless person is easy; however, it is incredibly important for our overall growth both as people and as a society.
Final Thoughts on Being Selfless
In today's world, it can be a challenge to be selfless. Because many people are focused on being individualistic, it may appear that being selfish is now the norm. Even though it can be frustrating to learn how to be selfless, particularly when everyone seems to be focused on themselves, this is a critically important part of your overall health.
When you take the time to be selfless around other people, you will find that your impact on the world becomes magnified. Therefore, take a few minutes and think about ways you can be selfless when you are surrounded by selfish people.
Finally, if you need some help on your journey to selflessness and spirituality, here's a roundup of the best enlightenment apps.